A tribute to “Doc” Washington

Brunswick County lost a real superhero with actual superpowers this past week. He was a man who shaped the most valuable natural resources in Brunswick County, the souls of Young People.

I'm talking about Doc Washington. And his superpower was ENCOURAGEMENT.

I first noticed Doc Washington in 1984, a few months after we moved to Lawrenceville.

There was a downtown parade.

I saw an incredibly energetic man coming down Main Street, marching not just with his legs and feet but with his whole body!

He had on the most wonderful, happy smile.

And he was leading an army of happy boys.

They were boys who were proud to be with that man.

It was very obvious that they loved him and that he loved them.

Their cadence wasn't perfect, some of the younger boys were out of step, but their eyes were full of hope and confidence and encouragement.

Later, I asked about that remarkable man and was told that he had been a Scoutmaster and a basketball mentor and a community leader for decades.

And that he had a gift for building boys into men, men who were proud of who they were, and their heritage, and their country.

Being a Scoutmaster myself, I knew we would soon meet and when we did we became instant friends.

Just from talking to him a few minutes I could see that he saw the good in everyone and every situation.

I also noticed, over the years, that he had a little bit of that march in his step every where he went, almost as if there was always a brass band playing a sound track for him.

A couple of years back, we asked him to be a judge at some school science fairs. He protested that he wasn't qualified. We responded that he was the most qualified person we could think of because of his superpower; the power to encourage.

I smile as I think back on the image in my mind of him going from table to table, at the Elementary School science fair, complimenting and praising even the most hastily assembled project.

After a Doc Washington pep talk, every one of those young people knew that they were awesome!

And every time there was a good cause happening in the County, you would just about always see Doc Washington there.

And, of course, in every parade he'd be there, marching just like Professor Harold Hill in the musical “Music Man.”

I was sitting in Church this morning thinking about the coming judgment day and, suddenly, into my mind popped an image.

It was of Doc Washington, marching up the golden streets towards the Savior, Jesus Christ.

In my mind’s eye I pictured him asking the Judge, “Lord, how did I do?”

And then the Lord, with a twinkle in His eye, saying, “Fine, Fine!”

I am grateful for so many good Brunswickian examples in my life.

Let's honor Doc Washington by living the Scout Motto. As a community and as a nation, let us be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.